Sep 2, 2014

Aimee Semple McPherson: sources

"It's almost dangerous to say in the same (sentence) as 'Pentecostals,'" historian Anthea Butler said of Aimee Semple McPherson, "but I'll go ahead and say it: there's something sexy about her."

Semple McPherson, the pioneering pentecostal evangelist who used technology, media, and theatrics to spread the gospel, died 70 years ago this month. In her day, she reportedly drew larger crowds than Harry Houdini or P.T. Barnum.

"American Experience," the Public Broadcasting Service program, produced a documentary on Semple McPherson's life in 2007. It is now available on Youtube:


Anyone interested in a full treatment of Semple McPherson's life and her place in the history of American Christianity should check out Matthew Sutton's biography, Aimee Semple McPherson and the Resurrection of Christian America. (Sutton, incidentally, will be teaching at the University of Heidelberg this coming semester).

Pentecostal historians Anthea Butler and Arlene Sánchez-Walsh spoke about Semple McPherson on the public radio program, "On Being" in 2011, offering an excellent introduction to the evangelist.

Digital of Semple McPherson's magazine, Bridal Call, from 1917 and 1918, have been made available by the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center.